Cookbook Review: 'Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese'

A funny, approachable primer to goat

Cookbook Review: 'Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese'

It is not often that a cookbook comes around and instantly engages me to the degree that I stop what I’m doing to read it.

After all, the appeal of many (most?) cookbooks is reading the story, ogling lovely pictures of dishes you’d like to make, planning for an occasion, and executing a few of the recipes. Occasionally, if the food book is really truly wonderful, and the culinary stars align perfectly, then inspiration strikes and you dedicate precious spare moments to studying the book cover to cover. Ever since Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough’s Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese (Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, $29.95) landed on my desk while I was working on a goat butchery article (“Goat Renaissance or Goat Revolution?”, June 21, 2013), I have been carrying it everywhere, reading it aloud to anyone in earshot. It is brilliant.

Scarbrough, a literature professor by day, and Weinstein, found knitting when not testing recipes, offer the United States’ premier goat-centric cookbook. (It was first published in 2011.) All good books need a great opening line, and Scarbrough's razor-sharp writing nails it: “I lied and I was wearing makeup.” The book is the perfect size, employs hilarious humor, and describes in detail some of the most delectable recipes for this wonder meat.

The book is divided into three sections – meat, milk & yogurt, and cheese – with approachable recipes feasible for a variety of settings, covering the spectrum from pan-roasted chops to homemade Saag Paneer. Smaller subsections get even more specific: “Hunks,” “Chunks,” “The Smell of Goat in the Morning,” et al. In addition to the traditional dishes of Masaman Curry, Moussaka, and Goat Vindaloo, some of my already-dog-eared recipes include Pâté de Campagne (because suddenly I feel this is possible) and Baked Spinach-and-Goat-Cheese Dumplings (because goat cheese dumplings). My only complaint stems from a desire for a few more of Marcus Nilsson’s accompanying photographs. Facts and stats regarding the global dedication to goat versus the strange (and hopefully declining) Western aversion, plus pop-up pro-tip boxes and a peppering of stories and quips, make Goat as educational as it is entertaining. This my new favorite cookbook.

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